Stand Up For Science!


Yesterday, I crawled my sick ass out of bed to meet Catherine and attend an important event in downtown Vancouver: the Stand Up for Science Rally. This Canada-wide action was a call to arms for citizens and scientists alike to protest the Canadian Conservative Government’s abysmal track record on science.

We heard from many speakers, listing the long dark tale of the Conservative reign over science policy: from backward steps like closure of the Experimental Lakes Area, gutting of the Fisheries Act, persecution of drug harm reduction programs, the list really goes on and on. The long and terrible record on science is explained in great detail at Confessions of a Science Librarian, where John Depuis has amassed a vast and depressing catalog of Conservative-led attacks on science in Canada.

Hopefully this event will raise public consciousness about the current threats to science and science policy in Canada, and our voices will be heard. Catherine and I were glad to do our part and felt the day well worth it.  So sit back, enjoy the photos and click some links to find out about some of the great science advocates we have in this country.


Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee explains how exactly the Conservative War on Science will affect wildlands management.


Dr. David Suzuki, documentarian and geneticist (and a childhood hero from “The Nature of Things” lays into Harper big time!


NDP Deputy Critic for Fisheries Fin Donnelly explains the Harper-led destruction of federal fisheries protections.


Dr. Tzeporah Berman, author and activist from Greenpeace and  ForestEthics, delivered a fiery speech outlining how Harper’s Big Oil love affair has landed us in hot water with our international climate commitments. I knew Tzeporah from way back when I was a forest protection activist during the 1993 Clayoquot Sound Campaign.


Dr. Sarah Otto of UBC makes the leap from evolutionary biology to science policy, by outlining the failure of the Canadian Government to take seriously the Species At Risk Act . Of over one hundred SARA submissions in the last 2 years, representing years of effort by conservation scientists, only 2 have made it to Cabinet.


Dr. Alexandra Morton, former whale researcher and now staunch defender of the wild coast, gave an impassioned appeal for unfettered research and science communication at the federal level. Her organization has had to undertake their own research and monitoring in order to help police the coast, something that the Feds should have been on long ago.


Dr. Thomas Kerr, an addictions specialist working with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS explains the Conservative-led attack against the proven results of Vancouver’s Insite safe injection site and other harm-reduction initiatives in Canada.


SFU’s Dr. Lynne Quarmby, algal researcher got everyone fired up about basic research and the unexpected discoveries that misguided policies cannot anticipate.


Bregitte DePape (a gutsy activist) and others from ShitHarperDid role play the Conservative antagonism to Science.


Protest Dogs


A super-cute puppy travelling with Alexandra Morton!


A seasoned protest dog, this venerable beast inhabited the steps right below the PA!


Keeping an eye out, in case Harper sneaks up from behind.


Social interactions!